Speech prepared for the full Council meeting on 9th December 2004
Thank you, Mr Mayor, fellow members.
I wish to address this year‘s financial settlement, Mr Mayor. It is of course extremely disappointing, with Medway right down in the bottom quartile of unitary authorities. It really must be obvious now to just about everyone that the Government is using every technique they can find to deliberately underfund us here in Medway. This happens every year with depressing predictability, even though their own Ministers have accepted the reality of our situation, our needs and our exemplary track record in financial management.
They are again cheating the people of Medway out of millions of pounds, as they have been doing year after year! It has become evident that everyone who is decent, every council that does work well, and everyone who does stand up for what is right is made to suffer. The whole method is dishonest by lumping in what were separate grants, to falsify the true amount of FSS and RSG and make it look as though they are being generous—well, we‘re not fooled, Mr Mayor!
And what did our local MPs do to get a fair deal for Medway? Did they lobby their colleagues in the Parliamentary Cabinet and elsewhere to have our fair share of national tax money restored to us? No: they did nothing! So, the next time something has to be closed or sold off in order that we can continue to protect the vulnerable members of our community, remember, people of Medway˜remember what the true cause is, and especially when the General Election is upon us, remember how useless and worthless the current MPs have been: they‘re part of the problem.
We‘ve seen all this before, of course, and the good news is that the public do eventually wake up to what is really going on. There are very clear signs of this happening throughout the nation, so the forthcoming General Election should make a big difference for the future, especially booting-out the three next-to-useless Labour MPs for the Medway area constituencies!
In the meantime, Mr Mayor, this Conservative administration will have to do what it always does˜keep everything we can running despite all that is being inflicted upon us. Of course we‘ll do that, Mr Mayor, but it‘ll be no thanks to the Labour Government! They don‘t care, but we do!
Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.
John M Ward (Councillor, Rochester South and Horsted)